Laurel and Hardy
Way Out West (1937) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson
Way Out West is one of my favorite Laurel and Hardy films, for several reasons. It moves at a good pace, with lots of comedy both verbal and slapstick. The film’s musical numbers actually fit well in with the story and aren’t long enough to distract from the film. There are several classic moments, including the famous “tickling scene” between Stan Laurel and Sharon Lynn, Stan and Ollie dancing to The Trail of the Lonesome Pine, Ollie forcing Stan to eat his hat, and Stan “lighting” his thumb.
Fra Diavolo, aka. The Devil’s Brother, reissued as Bogus Bandits, starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Dennis King, Thelma Todd, James Finlayson
In The Devil’s Brother (also known as Fra Diavolo, and reissued in 1951 as Bogus Bandits, the setting is the north of Italy in the 1700’s, where a famous bandit, Fra Diavolo (aka. the Devil’s Brother of the title) is the most famous bandit in the land, known for stealing money from the men and the hearts of the women of the nobility. In this setting, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy play two bumbling peasants, Stanlio and Ollio, who decide to try the “easy life” of bandits, and pick for their first victim Fra Diavolo himself (in his disguise as the Marquis de San Marco). To punish them for their impudence, the bandit and his band force Stanlio to hang Ollio! (more…)
The Flying Deuces (1939) starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
The Flying Deuces is possibly the best-known of Laurel and Hardy’s films. This is due to the fact that it’s in the public domain and you can find copies for $1.00 at your local Wal-Mart. Having said that, is it any good?(more…)
The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case (1930) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy
The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case is more of a spoof of the haunted house movie, rather than an actual murder mystery, but the interplay between Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy make it all worthwhile. The movie begins with Laurel and Hardy fishing off the end of a pier, when they discover that Stanley’s rich uncle Ebenezer had died, leaving a fortune. However, once Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy arrive at the mansion for the reading of the will, they learn that Uncle Ebenezer was murdered, and the police detective investigating the murder is keeping Stan and all of the other relatives at the mansion until the murderer is found. (more…)
Chickens Come Home (1931) – Laurel and Hardy short film, starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Thelma Todd, Mae Busch, James Finlayson
Chickens Come Home is a very funny Laurel and Hardy short film, where Oliver Hardy plays a successful businessman (running a “high class” fertilizer business), with a loving and beautiful wife (played by Thelma Todd), who’s running a successful campaign to become mayor. All seems to be going well for Oliver, until a former girlfriend (Mae Busch) shows up, to blackmail him with a “scandalous” photograph of her and Ollie at the beach, taken during his “gilded youth…my primrose days…before I was married.” (more…)
The Fighting Kentuckian (1949) starring John Wayne, Oliver Hardy, Vera Ralston
The Fighting Kentuckian is a romantic western starring John Wayne – except that the Western is set in the East. The setting is after the war of 1812, where John Wayne’s character, John Breen, is returning home with his battalion to Kentucky after having served under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. They pass through Alabama, where he meets and rapidly falls in love with a young French exile, Fleurette De Marchand (played by the beautiful Vera Ralston). She is part of the exiles from France, soldiers and their family loyal to the exiled Napoleon. John Wayne’s character decides to muster out of the army and stay here, and his friend Willie Paine (played wonderfully by Oliver Hardy, who is very funny here, but in a much more serious role than when teamed with Stan Laurel) stays behind to keep him out of trouble. (more…)
Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers aka Babes in Toyland (1934)
When people think of holiday classics, few people think of ”March of the Wooden Soldiers” by Laurel and Hardy—and that’s a pity. Based on Victor Herbert’s famous 1903 operetta, “Babes in Toyland,” it is a musical fairy tale that’s loved by young and old alike.
In March of the Wooden Soldiers, the boys (Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy) portray Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, employees of Toyland’s toy factory and just as inept there as at any other occupation in any other Laurel and Hardy film. They live in the home of the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe, whose oldest daughter is Little Bo Peep. Peep is in love with Tom Tom, the Piper’s son, but desired by the evil Silas Barnaby (“the meanest man in town”), who holds the mortgage on the shoe. Other fairy tale figures include Old King Cole, the Three Little Pigs, and several others. The plot revolves around Barnaby’s attempts to win the hand of Bo Peep by hook or crook, and Stan & Ollie’s bumbling attempts to foil them, including having Stanley stand in for Bo Peep in a wedding ceremony.
You’re Darn Tootin’ (1928) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy
You’re Darn Tootin’ is a very funny silent Laurel and Hardy film, which I can’t help but wonder how it would have been with sound. The basic premise has Stan Laurel playing the clarinet, and Oliver Hardy the French horn. They’re playing in a bandstand, where they are comically inept. Throughout the short, Stan Laurel uses the clarinet as a wonderful comedy prop, with its’ multiple sections falling apart at the most inopportune times. During the band’s playing, Stan loses his sheet music. And so he steals Oliver’s prompting Oliver to try and retrieve “his” music sheet from under the conductor’s feet. After more comic ineptness, including knocking down all of the music stands like a set of oversized dominoes, Laurel and Hardy are summarily fired. (more…)
Editorial review of Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection, courtesy of Amazon.com
“Eternal pals and eternal antagonists, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy are the great partnership of movie slapstick. They finally get their DVD due with Laurel & Hardy: The Essential Collection, a 10-disc orgy of pratfalls, slow burns, and slap fights–in short, a collection that truly qualifies as a must-have for connoisseurs of comedy. The collection contains the sound films that Laurel and Hardy made for producer Hal Roach, the man who teamed the simpering English vaudeville player and the rotund American actor in the first place (although their laughs are evenly divided, Laurel was the creative force and chief gag-inventor of the duo). (more…)
Do Detectives Think? (1927) starring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, James Finlayson
Do Detectives Think? is an early Laurel and Hardy silent film. In fact, this is the first Laurel and Hardy short where Stan and Ollie wear their trademark derby hats. The basic plot has an escaped murderer, “The Tipton Slasher” out for revenge on the judge who put him behind bars—played by the very funny James Finlayson, (more…)